Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Eggs, Larva and Pupae OH MI! A flea, a flea....

The buzz in the clinic this month, the anxiously anticipated warm weather... the inevitable calls start ; "I think Fluffy might have FLEAS.  Should I be worried?"  Simply put YES, you should worry.  One female flea can produce up to 50 eggs per day.... you do the math.  This all could result in a major infestation in less than 2 weeks and all it took was one flea who was looking for a warm and cozy ride!

How will you know that your fur family has fleas?
Most pets with fleas show few symptoms, until the infestation is severe.  The major red flags are excessive itching and possibly a rash.  You could also see the fleas crawling through the haircoat - much like head lice except they are brown/black color and they leave behind "flea dirt" on your pets coat.  And for you, the owner, small red flea bites on your own feet and legs!

How can I prevent my pet(s) from getting fleas?
There are several safe products that are available for the prevention of fleas.  These products can be used alone, or can be combined with heartworm preventative products.  They are safe, effective, and relatively inexpensive. 

But my cats never goes outside, should I worry?
Well even you can carry a hitchhiking flea into your home so that it could find its way to your pet.  And what if you have a dog?  Well they most certainly could mobilize the "flea army" to invade your home and once inside a feline blood meal is just a tasty as the canine version. 

How long can fleas stay in an enviroment ie. your home?

Pupae (one of the stages in the flea life cycle) can remain dormant in the enviroment for up to 9 months.  What that means is they could remain in your home without a host and hatch into fleas at anytime.  If your pets are protected once the pupae hatch the fleas will simply die off within 72 hours.  If left unprotected your pets will be itching in no time.

The take home messge is once you have an infestation you will quickly realize that is is easier and more cost effective to prevent rather than to treat.  Fleas are a terrible nuisance just ask anyone who has dealt with them.

Happy Spring!